The (Right) News Rundown
- Canadian oil is still selling below the market value that is reported on the news each night.
- Talk about oil pricing and various benchmarks.
- North American oil per barrel pricing is heading north to roughly $65/barrel.
- The oil coming out of Alberta is selling for $25/barrel less than this on the international market. Meaning Alberta oil is selling for $40/barrel USD.
- The gap between Alberta prices and American prices has always existed but has become more pronounced in the last 6 months.
- On average it used to hover between $10-$15 less than the American price but has since deepened to $25 less than the American price over the last couple months.
- This deepening difference is due to more rigs in Alberta coming online and increasing the supply of Alberta oil.
- This was made worse by the shut down of the Keystone pipeline in South Dakota after a spill.
- This is ultimately hampering the amount of money the oil producers bring in and therefore the province of Alberta.
- The solution to this? More pipelines.
- The next pipeline to come online is Enbridge's Line 3 which could be in late 2019 at the earliest.
- Recall that we are waiting for TransMountain in BC to be complete and construction to begin on Keystone XL in the United States.
- Imagine the capacity if Energy East and Northern Gateway had also been approved.
- Compounding this for the province and the governing NDP is that the 2017-18 budget was based on a WTI price of $55/barrel USD and a WCS price at about $51/barrel CDN.
- This month the WTI price for oil was $60/barrel while WCS is at ~$50/barrel CDN.
- A BC Supreme Court case has highlighted the tactics of two wealthy Chinese families, and how they worked together to create an elaborate immigration, tax and real estate scam.
- The Fu and Zhu families worked together for at least a decade to purchase properties in Vancouver and skirt around landed immigrant rules to dodge hefty taxes. They fell out over the purchase of 3 multi million dollar properties in Vancouver, and went to court to settle their differences. During the court case, many illegal immigration and tax schemes were revealed. The dispute between the families indirectly illustrates the range of common, mostly unpunished migration and real-estate scams occurring in Canada.
- “This case provides unusually candid insight into what those who would abuse our immigration and real-estate systems really think in their own words about their true motives for seeking access to Canada and our real estate,” said Vancouver immigration lawyer Sam Hyman.
- Here are some of the techniques used to skirt around Canadian law:
- 1. Not declaring full worldwide income to Canadian tax officials - One family’s breadwinner declared to the Canadian Revenue Agency he had a worldwide income of only $97.11. “This was an incredible assertion, given the fact he owns one of the top 10 textile manufacturing and distribution companies in China’s biggest production zone", said Judge Susan Griffin.
- 2. Pretending to spend time in Canada to meet residency requirements - One family's member referred to staying in Canada as "immigration jail". The requirements ask would-be immigrants to physically spend two years out of five in Canada to retain their permanent residency status. Many in the family would be skirting around this residency requirement.
- 3. Hiding real real-estate ownership - A way to avoid or evade paying capital gains tax in Canada is by putting dwellings in the names of children or spouses who appear to be permanent residents of Canada, and who appear, at least on paper, to occupy the houses.
- 4. Lack of regulation of real-estate agents - The son’s phony claims about spending time in Canada were coordinated by the families’ realtor, identified only as “Mr. Gu.” The realtor assisted the son by helping provide false pay cheques, false employment records and false verbal claims about losing his permanent-resident card while in China.
- 5. Illicitly laundering money out of China - The Fu family, to avoid detection, used their employees on 21 occasions to transfer lump sums just under China’s restriction against removing more than $50,000 US a year from the country.
- 6. Misusing provincial migration programs - The two families from China initially started their application process to move to and invest in Canada by going through the provincial nominee programs of Prince Edward Island and Manitoba, jurisdictions which lack the popularity of Metro Vancouver and Toronto for migrants. Neither family showed any intention of settling in those provinces, since they immediately put all their efforts into investing in residential real estate on the west side of Vancouver.
- 7. Exploiting Canadian courts, with costly trials - it costs Canadian taxpayers a great deal to provide the judges, buildings and legal staff to run the court system, even when the losing side sometimes has to contribute to opponents’ lawyers’ fees. The bitterest irony in all this is that those who would so brazenly thwart our laws with such perceived impunity, for personal gain, would turn to our taxpayer-funded legal system for recourse.
- With all this, it's clear that government has to make an effort to crack down on these literally illegal immigrants. It's cases like these that are contributing to the real estate problems in BC, and when such a problem exists in evading taxes by people who can clearly pay for it, it's clear that something needs to be done.
- Justin Trudeau took his cross country town hall tour to Quebec City this week.
- While there questions about our immigration system and how to combat racism were asked.
- A question was asked pertaining on how to better integrate new immigrants into Canadian society. As with most times Trudeau talks about immigration this ended on the tone of fighting racism.
- The Prime Minister said, "There is much more we need to do as citizens to create neighbourhoods, a society, a political debate that is more respectful, less anchored in ignorance and insecurity and intolerance."
- Questions about immigration are perfectly valid and legitimate given the current state of world affairs and last year's under reported illegal migrant surge into Canada.
- Canada is fortunate for many reasons and one of those is that our political system is built on brokerage and we very seldomly see small fringe parties gain prominence.
- This does not mean though that immigration is an issue that should be shied away from, it's very important.
- The CBC reported on this with great detail because in attendance were roughly 10 members of the "Storm Alliance", a group that identifies as ultranationalist.
- The CBC made expressive emphasis on the RCMP contingent at the meeting. Saying, "Roughly seven members of the RCMP stood between the Storm Alliance, who positioned themselves at the back of the room."
- With CBC's expressive reporting on this you would think something happened there caused by this group, but it didn't.
- They were there, calmly taking selfies and listening to the Prime Minister without causing any trouble.
- A man who was removed from the town hall in London for heckling got up to shout at the Prime Minister, before being removed again by police. He unfurled a Canadian flag that was defaced with Nazi symbolism and the words "evil empire" and "fig leaf."
- The CBC noted that “There was no apparent connection between the disruption and Storm Alliance.”
- Trudeau, said "Nice to see you again," as the man was hauled off.
- If one wanted to see this story without dramatic flair they would go to CTV news who provided a more thorough account of the event without a clickbait headline.
- And one final note on this story, CBC notes that there was no link between the Storm Alliance and the disruption at the town hall but let's refer back to the headline. By mentioning the Storm Alliance in the headline, this implies that they were involved in the heckling that took place!
- CTV got this right and didn't bring the Storm Alliance into it.
The Firing Line
- There was a gigantic media furor over case where an 11 year old girl Khawlah Noman claimed that a scissors-wielding man came up behind her and cut her hijab repeatedly as she walked to school last Friday, describing the incident as one that left her terrified and confused.
- In the original story, it was described that the man walked up behind her, and then pulled off her jacket hood, and started cutting the bottom of her hijab. The man ran off, Khawlah said, noting that she crossed the street with her brother to join other students walking to school. But a short time later, the man approached her from behind again and started cutting her hijab once more, she said. Khawlah said she turned around to confront him, but he smiled and ran off again. That sounds a little fishy doesn't it? If she was wearing a huge coat hood, how could the attacker see her hijab from behind, have the time to carefully cut off a foot of cloth from the hijab without cutting the girl or her hair, and without anyone else witnessing this? And when someone comes at you with scissors, how do you not run away from that?
- The Toronto District School Board said it was offering support to Khawlah and her family, as well as other students, and working with investigators on the case. They set up a huge press conference where the girl's mother and brother were standing beside her as she described the incident. The little brother is seen smirking at his sister throughout the case, not an expression one would normally see on someone who would witness an awful crime on a family member.
- Normally in cases like this, underaged witnesses or accusers' identities are hidden, to protect the child from any harm. However, the media and the school board were thrusting the girl into the spotlight, letting the press conference happen right in the middle of a classroom. Why would that happen even before the police investigation had begun, and with the criminal likely still in the area? The girl also seemed remarkably calm giving the interview given that she was attacked just 90 minutes before.
- The media storm started at 9:33 a.m., last Friday, when Toronto Police tweeted an initial report of an assault at the school involving a man cutting off a student’s hijab. At 10.52 a.m., Toronto Police tweeted again: There were now two victims and “another person attacked.” Ten minutes later, Toronto Police put out another tweet, this time with a correction: “There is only 1 victim; She was attacked twice by the same man 10 minutes apart.”
- The story aired on CBC just 45 minutes after the 911 call happened. Politicians jumped on the story right after that, eager to decry the alleged attack. Toronto Mayor John Tory, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau all issued statements condemning the incident and Islamophobia in general.
- “Canada is an open and welcoming country,” posted Trudeau, “and incidents like this cannot be tolerated.” Trudeau said his heart goes out to the girl. "I can't imagine how afraid she must have been," Trudeau said at a cabinet retreat in London, Ont. "I want her and her family and her friends and community to know that that is not what Canada is and that is not who Canadians are."
- Meanwhile, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne called the incident "a cowardly act of hatred. This does not represent who we are," Wynne wrote in a tweet. "We must stand firm in our support of this young girl who was assaulted simply for wearing a hijab."
- John Tory added that he was "shocked and appalled. No child should ever be afraid walking to school in Toronto because of what they are wearing or for any other reason. Intolerance and hate of any kind, including islamophobia, has no place in our city, our province, or our country."
- After the story made international news, Noman's picture was plastered on the front page of newspapers across Canada, and discussed on the radio and shown on the evening news for days. A few days later, Toronto Police concluded their investigation.
- The result? IT DIDN'T HAPPEN.
- That's right, it turns out that the case was all made up. On Monday, Toronto Police issued the following brief statement. “After a detailed investigation, police have determined that the events described did not happen,” it read. “Our investigation is concluded and we don’t expect anything further.”
- The family has apologized for the "pain and anger" they caused, after the girl's claim turned out not to be true. "This has been a very painful experience for our family. We want to thank everyone who has shown us support at this difficult time. Again, we are deeply sorry for this and want to express our sincere apologies to every Canadian."
- In their statement Wednesday, the girl's family said when they heard her story, they "assumed it to be true, just like everyone else." They added, "We only went public because we were horrified that there was such a perpetrator who may try to harm someone else."
- A Muslim writer for the Vancouver Metro wrote about how "a false accusation of a hate crime is rare. But it most hurts communities already reeling from the effect of those inflicting terrorism in the name of their religion. It also undermines the fight against Islamophobia. An incident like this gives people the ammunition to leverage the rare false report and use it to invalidate larger issues of anti-Muslim hate."
- A Canadian Muslim organization expressed similar concerns, saying they feared others who experience hate crimes may be reluctant to report them out of worry that they will not be believed. Safwan Choudhry, spokesman for the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at Canada, said it would also be naive to ignore the risk of potential backlash against the girl and her family as well as other Muslims in light of Monday’s news.
- After this there was an uproar of fury against the girl for lying to everyone about the incident. However the real blame should lay with the media and the school board who pushed for this to become an international sensation without even doing basic fact-checking. It should also be with the politicians who jumped on the story for political gain. I bet they feel pretty foolish now.
Word of the Week
Clickbait - something (such as a headline) designed to make readers want to click on a hyperlink especially when the link leads to content of dubious value or interest
You'll never believe what happened when … This is the cutest thing ever … This the biggest mistake you can make … Take this quiz to see which character you are on
How to Find Us
Episode Title: Cutting Through Clickbait
Teaser: Canadian oil is discounted due to lack of transport, a BC court case reveals immigration loopholes, a far right group attends Trudeau’s town hall to the delight of the CBC, and a fake hijab cutting incident sparks a rapid condemnation of Islamophobia.
Recorded Date: January 20, 2018
Release Date: January 21, 2018
Edit Notes: None